Suspiria ★★★★★

Horror is burdened by expectations more than any other genre. That is why it is so refreshing to watch horror that completely ignores those expectations. More so than scary, Suspiria is a film that can best be described as intoxicating. Luca has truly mastered the ability to assault the senses in a way that constantly leaves me breathless. That is why the film’s long runtime completely works for me, because I’m always being engaged on some level. The sonic level being equal to the visual due to Thom Yorke’s hypnotically beautiful score. The visual level becoming an immediate showcase of unique directorial style.

There are a lot of horror movies that feature women and those women are often the sole survivors but rarely are they given as much autonomy and power and thematic depth as they are here. Dakota is perfect in this kind of role which embraces the power in a typically victimized archetype of horror. I really wasn’t expecting where they took her character but I was so pleasantly surprised by it. I also wasn’t expecting how central the doctor would be to the themes depicted throughout the film so I’ll have to focus more on his character in repeat viewings.

Overall, I can understand why many wouldn’t like this at all but I’m completely enamored by all of the flaws pointed out. The only objection I would take is that I think the word pretentious is thrown around far too often in film criticism by critics and general audiences alike. I love films where everything I need to understand is right in front of me and I just need to focus deeper to uncover it all. I think that sort of depth is too often mistaken for pretension because that sort of depth is what keeps me thinking about a film days after seeing it, what makes me look for similar films and literature that serve as a basis or inspiration, and what leads me to frequent rewatching which I’m going to do with Suspiria very soon.

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